The Star Trek franchise is on a mission to increase its audience reach and it wants all hands on deck. Star Trek: Discovery—the first new Trek show since Enterprise left the air in 2005—is currently in its second season and a third season was recently announced. There’s also a bevy of new shows in development, including a spin-off focused on Section 31 and Phillippa Georgiou, to a Lower Decks animated show in the style of Rick and Morty, and a family-friendly animated series heading to Nickelodeon. However, the upcoming Trek project that fans are most excited for is the return of Jean-Luc Picard in his own series, set 20 years after the last of the Next Generation films, Star Trek: Nemesis.
Picard actor Patrick Stewart broke the news about the new series during a surprise appearance at the Las Vegas Star Trek Convention last year. Details on the new series have been scant, but as the show begins ramping up to begin shooting this April, we’ve learned a few enticing details about the upcoming series. An official title for the series hasn’t been announced as of yet, but trade publication Production Weekly lists the show’s title as Star Trek: Destiny (aka Star Trek: Picard). The name “Destiny” was trademarked last summer by CBS, along with several other potential titles for upcoming series. Some of those names already have projects attached to them, like Starfleet Academy, Ceti Alpha V, and Lower Decks. Discovery star Sonequa Martin-Green stated in a February interview with Larry King that the new Picard series would be titled simply Picard, but that information remains unconfirmed. The working title of the new series—which will begin shooting on April 14th at Santa Clarita Studios—is “Drawing Room” and executive producer and star Stewart has described the show as a 10-hour movie.
Prolific TV director Hanelle Culpepper has been tapped to helm the pilot episode of the series, as well as its follow-up episode. Culpepper previously directed the first-season Discovery episode “Vaulting Ambition” and also directed the upcoming season two episode “The Red Angel”. Culpepper will make Trek history with the new series as the first female director of a Star Trek pilot.
The series’s story-line remains under wraps as filming is set to begin, but Trek executive producer Alex Kurtzman has indicated that the series will explore the impact that the destruction of Romulus (from Star Trek 2009) has had on Picard, an impact so great that Picard’s future involvement with Starfleet may be in question. That Hashtag Show published an exclusive last week detailing the character breakdowns included in the casting notices for the show, and only one of those character profiles even mentions “Starfleet”, which lends credence to the theory that Picard may no longer be a captain or have a commission, period.
Whatever his status, he won’t be alone in whatever journey he’s on. Deadline.com has reported that two actors have already been cast in the new show. Venezuelan actor Santiago Cabrera (Salvation, Big Little Lies) has been cast as a series regular, along with veteran actress Michelle Hurd (Blindspot, Hawaii Five-0). The actors’ specific roles have not been revealed, but it’s rumored that Cabrera will be playing the role of pilot Lawrence, who’s described as a thief with a “dodgy moral compass.” Rumor also has it that Hurd will take on the role of Alana, a “brilliant former intelligence officer” with a history of personal and professional loss and substance abuse.
Trek has made some ambitious moves in the last year, emboldened by the positive reception of Star Trek: Discovery, and the new Picard series is set to continue that trend when it debuts in late 2019. Despite the critical and commercial success of Discovery, there have been some fans that aren’t enamored of the show’s prequel setting and who are yearning for familiar names and faces. The return of Patrick Stewart to the role that made him famous should go a long way towards giving on-the-fence fans a reason to rejoin the new and expanded Trek universe. Stay tuned to That Hashtag Show for ongoing updates about the Picard series and other in-development Trek shows!